They are a bit of a rip off, for sure.
They are useful in a one respect, though: Bad cylinders. When somebody comes by for a fill of one of these cylinders, and the cylinder is bad (too rusted, bent, no OPD, out of date, etc.), I send them to the store to do the exchange. They pay a premium, but get a fresh cylinder in the exchange. (The good part is that store employees are not trained, so often accept practically anything in exchange. The bad part is that they don't know the difference between 15 pounds and 20 pounds, as you point out.)
We're still trying to decide what to do about prices. If we sell the remaining propane at our current rate, we're going to take a big hit when the tank runs dry. On the other hand, during this season, many of our regular customers are not well-heeled tourists; rather, they're ones who are just managing to get by and are trying their best to stay warm. (I try to help these people out by some creative price rounding whenever I can. Or if they want, say, $10 bucks worth of propane, I sort of forget to turn off the valve at just the right time.)
One idea we're throwing around is to add a surcharge of, say, 50 cents or so to each fill. (That's 50 cents to the total, not 50 cents to the price per gallon.) In that way, we'll recoup at least a little of what's coming, but still keep things in check for our winter customers.
Originally Posted by Chillpoints
You are so correct. I found some of the Blue exchange tanks were folding the shrink wrap label under before shrinking them so they did not show that the were 15 lbs. Yes I looked at all 10 tanks they had in the display and surprisingly all of the shrink wrap labels were folded just the same. When I asked the attendant if the tanks were full he told me they were. When I began to look at the Tare weights stamped on the tanks and asked him if we could get a scale to check to see if they had 20lbs of fuel in them he said he was confused and thought that 15lbs was full. The 15lbs price point is similar to the 20lbs fill price. If you want more camping time do a refill and get your money in LP not in tank servicing/convenience.
Now I am one who has used the exchange program a time or two when I wanted to exchange the dirty greasy grill tank for a nice new clean one. I am particular thought and require that I am able to look at the certification dates and the tare weights stamped on the collar.
I would rather pay a little more for the LP if I knew the person filling it knows what they are doing. Safety is a factor for my trailer worth spending a little extra for. If you were closer I would get my tanks filled by you.